This week Marvel has launched an interesting 5 part series entitled Who Are The Mystery Men by David Liss and Patrick Zircher.
The title comes from the 1930’s when Superheroes were known as “Mystery Men” as part of their iconic status, and this is also played up to within the comic.
Set in New York in 1932, Liss has created a very good opening to the series, which fits incredibly well into the feel of the era. This is completely the opposite to the New York he is currently writing on as author of Black Panther: Man without Fear.
Liss has been a really interesting choice on this project considering Black Panther is his only other comic book and prior to that he has been associated with short stories and also thriller novels. Saying that however, he has really embraced what he been given as a clean slate to write upon. Keeping the characters we’ve met within the style and also the historic setting Liss has opened with a Robin Hood figure known only as the Operative. Without revealing much about him, except for his social status, you are quickly taken into the story and also introduced to what is going to be his nemesis. Considering that at present there are only five issues in the series the pace at which he has to move is considerable but the issue doesn’t feel rushed in any way. It is pacey but only when the action requires it to be.
Patrick Zircher has drawn in a very dated way, but one that is in parallel with the pulp feel of the comic. Normally I’m not a fan of this type of work but I have to admit that on this occasion, combined with the sound of the scripting and the setting I am really taken by it. It’s not the most detailed artwork, and quite often you have frames which contain only the one person and nothing else but, most importantly it still feels right.
There are obvious similarities and comparisons that could be drawn between this and Alan Moore’s Watchmen, but to dismiss this outside of anything other than the look, is the supernatural aspect that Liss brings in. In continuity with the rest of the Marvel Universe where this is set, we are introduced to witchcraft and powers.
In just one issue you have been given mysterious characters, demons, a murder and even further the allusion towards a lot more of the same. The story has really set you up for more on numerous levels across the characters involved and as they are all new to us there is a lot of unknown territory to cross with any and all of them.
I’m happy to have been given this issue to look at as it’s deep enough to get into with absolutely no prior knowledge but also has the potential to be a lot more than just five issues. Conversely, it’s also been written in such a way that you don’t get the feeling that it will be a miniseries.
I’ll certainly be collecting the set and I would suggest that if there is anyone looking for an extra short-term comic to try then this is a refreshing change to sample. Great new work, that has brought variety and a unique feel to an already crowded universe of work.
Matt Puddy is admittedly bemused by Marvel timing this to coincide with LA Noire on the games consoles...